I'm always astonished at the cult of the celebrity that feeds on famous people's lives with an insatiable hunger. I always preferred the more immediate satisfaction of speculating about, feeling sorry for, and lusting after those I knew personally. It always seemed boringly futile to go beyond my own life for those life and death moments that defined me and made me the eccentric and bizarre human I am today.
If my heart was broken I wanted my friends to know about it because they were the ones who could heal me. They could tell me I didn't fail, I wasn't worthless, it was his inability to love and not any inadequacy on my part. I needed these pretty lies to patch up the wounds in my heart so I could love again. I needed to know there were still people who loved me, people I could call at three in the morning and just cry into the phone until I was empty. It kept me alive to have this base of support. Without them I would have thrown myself off the nearest mountain.
And the same if I lusted after someone. I wanted it to be a person I had some realistic chance of connecting with or else it just seemed like worthless suffering to me. I saved my heroic worship for those who had truly inspired me--spiritual leaders like Gandhi, courageous examples such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr, musicians such as long dead composers who were so inspirational no one else has come along with the same power, the same awesome talent and ability.
And if someone I knew broke up, if a couple in my immediate circle's relationship ended, if through them I learned that everlasting love sometimes turns out to have a weak battery, then it was even more important that it be someone I knew intimately. The main reason for that is I am by nature a comforter. I can't imagine anything more frustrating to have that part of me floating free with nothing to land on because I didn't know the person who was drawing those instincts from me. It just didn't seem natural. It was impossible. I might as well weep at a wall's inner pain.
When you combine all that with my solid belief that what happens between two people is their business alone and it is rude and stalker-like to care about other people's lives so much, then you get the picture that I basically could care less what happens to celebrities. They are strangers. To care so much about their personal lives is the same to me as going up to some stranger on the street and demanding to know the intimate details of their sexual behavior and other intimate moments that are absolutely none of my business. It is saying to complete strangers yes, you can ask me about my own life, you can probe my privacy, dig into my love life, my successes and failures just because I entertained you at one time.
That said, I think I finally am beginning to understand with this latest focus on Paul McCartney and Heather Mill's relationship end. Let me say first of all that my favorite Beatle was George. I like my men to look like men. He had that lovely ruggedness that I adore. Paul was always too pretty for my tastes. But that aside, his sad life is making me understand something about this obsessive need in people to pry into his pain and Heather's. It has to do with the magnitude of the pain caused by love gone bad, the humiliation of love that didn't last, that allowed so many people into it, it never really had a chance.
If you think of the pain of love as something that can be measured, it begins to make even more sense to look for something larger than you are to hook your suffering to so you don't drown in your own misery. There's so many different levels of love pain. You have the small pain of a weekend fling that never called back. You have the distant high school ouch-relationship that warned that love and flowers and butterfly stuff in books was a lie: real love, true love hurt like hell. Especially in High School.
But to focus so much on these two celebrities tells me something about people that I know fairly well about myself : we've all loved that one person that brutally betrayed our blind trust in love. It was the life-changing moment we suffered through and whose memory continues to haunt us. The pain always seemed so much bigger than our own circle of friends, well-intentioned though they were, could possibly deal with. The pain was just too big. It needed a bigger stage than the limited area of a friend's shoulder. It needed more voices than your dear friends on the telephone. It needed more impact than the sympathetic emails. It needed a performance hall large enough to show off all the wounds so everyone would know the depth of your pain.
That is why we turn to bigger than life celebrities when they suffer. When our own pain is so big that it cannot live in a normal world, we turn to those whose wounds are bigger than life. It makes our own pain more tolerable to see that no one is immune from such wounds. We say if they can suffer, then maybe it wasn't our fault. Maybe we are not such bad people. Maybe it wasn't the end of the world. Maybe we can go on. Maybe we can patch our own hearts back together, no matter how many patches it already has.
And in a very sad and twisted way, it makes us accept our own lives, the limitations of having to work for a living, of being in debt, of never making enough to take that vacation, buy that beautiful home, that private getaway. It tells us that those things are not enough, that money is not the bandage we tell ourselves it would be. If the rich and famous can suffer over love, then we truly are equal, aren't we?
I wish Peace to us all in love and especially in war.
I made the rough draft of this image several years ago when I refused to let myself be defeated by a love gone bad. At the time I felt completely alone in my suffering. I felt no one understood me. And yet, I also knew I believed in love so much that I would patch up my poor, battered heart and try again and again and again until I got it right.
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